Rowland Heights Teacher Pleads ‘No Contest’ to Inappropriately Touching Elementary School Girls

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A former second grade teacher pleaded no contest Monday to allegations that he inappropriately touched and molested five students at an elementary school in the unincorporated Rowland Heights area in the San Gabriel Valley, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said Tuesday.

Jose Cruz Martinez, 54, of Rowland Heights, pleaded to four felony counts of a lewd act upon a child and one misdemeanor count of child molesting, the DA’s office said in a news release.

Martinez inappropriately touched four girls at Rowland Elementary School between August 2017 and April 2018, according to the news release.

The girls were all seven and eight years old at the time.

Martinez was arrested on April 24, 2018, after one of the victims told a parent who then notified police, the DA’s office said.

At the time, the Rowland Unified School District released a statement saying that the district was taking the matter seriously.

“Upon receipt of information regarding alleged misconduct of a 2nd grade teacher, the teacher was immediately removed from the classroom and school. The allegations were reported to law enforcement and we have cooperated fully with their investigation,” the statement said.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department investigated the case.

The defendant faces five years in state prison, according to the DA’s office.

Martinez is scheduled to be sentenced at a Pomona court on March 21. He was being held on no bail, according to booking records.

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